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Me, a bipolar writer: Intuition, Identification, Inspiration

The right words, strung together in a way that evokes emotion, can compel the reader to keep going. They want to identify. If not with themselves, then with the writer.


As humans, most of us feel the same emotions at some point in our lives. Being bipolar makes you feel those same emotions — amplified. The spikes and plunges are sometimes almost unbearable.


The tools I use for coping often bring inspiration to other situations in my life that I can use as a guide. Particularly, in my writing.


This is my guide to allowing bipolar disorder to inspire my writing.


1. Intuition - know your triggers, warning signs, and heed them


Oftentimes, we barrel through life ignoring the moments that those fine hairs stand to attention at the back of your neck or along your arms — the feeling of dread that comes on suddenly and can disappear just as quickly, because we are constantly distracted by what is happening externally.


Staying attuned to my intuition not only helps in everyday life but allows me as a writer to put my emotions in black on white, instinctively.


I know the moment that I’ve written a sentence that just does not jive in the flow of the piece. I observe the warning sign. I don’t delete it, I highlight it. Edit as needed. Heeding the signs allows you to take proactive, corrective action.


2. Identification - know the how and why of the high or low


Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain and it can be hereditary. That is the answer to, “how come I have a depressive disorder?” If someone has a family history of depression, are they at higher risk? If someone has a parent or sibling with major depression, that person probably has a 2 or 3 times greater risk of developing depression compared with the average person, according to Stanford Medicine.


There could be several reasons why I personally feel it coming on. One of those reasons is not taking my medication as prescribed.

My medication is not a cure, it is a crutch and I must do my part to assist myself, as the crutch does. Exercise, fresh air and sunlight: a winning combo.


My “how” I am able to write could also be passed down, though not genetically. The women past and present in my family are all great communicators, both orally and written. When we communicate it is on a mutual level of understanding and our “picked up here and picked up there” verbiage passes around.


The “why” I want to write is my medication. It grounds me. That crutch steadies me so I can keep in motion. Assisting myself is what I do, to make me feel better. In my writing, through sharing my experiences, I may help someone in my position. Using writing as a form of therapy to release those emotions is one of the reasons I see being bipolar as a gift to me as a writer.


By learning my how, I am able to fulfil my why; to help others with depression know that we deserve to live a full and beautiful life.


3. Inspiration - know that motivation is the key to happiness


When we are motivated to do something it is because we desire an outcome. In the case of my depression, my desired outcome is to be happy. I am motivated to take the steps that I need to take, in order to hold onto my “happiness”.

I am inspired by my bipolarness (my word) to write and my writing is one of the motivators in my life. This motivating factor brings me the desired outcome, of keeping me in my happy place.


Limiting beliefs will keep our happiness at arm’s length if we succumb to them. If you have a mental illness, I encourage you to search for what makes you happy and just go for it. All of it, with all of you. For me, that is writing. For you, it could be this or whatever brings you joy.


Be attuned to what you are feeling, then ask yourself why and how the corrective action you need to take can set you free.


Want to read more from Nicole Angai-Galindo? Start here.

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